Feb 16
Her eye on the news
‘TV revolution’

A behind-the-scenes look at the creation of the Oprah show has revealed the backstory behind Oprah Winfrey’s iconic 2004 car giveaway, in which the groundbreaking talk show host famously told audience member after audience member that “you get a car!”

In a three-part podcast titled Making Oprah: The Inside Story of a TV Revolution, journalist Jenn White spoke to Oprah about how the famous car giveaway came about. According to Oprah, her friend Gayle King had struck up a friendship with an executive from Pontiac while on a flight, which later led him to offer Winfrey 25 cars for a promotional giveaway on her show. But Winfrey and her producers wanted to make a bigger splash, and ultimately managed to convince the manufacturer to gift a brand new G6 to every member of the studio audience. In total, the 276 cars were valued at $7.7 million dollars.

“When we sat down and started to talk about the car giveaway, I asked, ‘How do we find people who really need cars?’ Because that would make it worth it to me … that would give it a depth and an intention,” Winfrey told White, explaining that it would have meant little to give cars to people who didn’t need them. In the end, they used questions on the audience applications such as “how do you get to work?” and “how old is your car?” to help fill a whole audience with people that “genuinely needed new cars.”

Winfrey and the producers managed to keep the secret of the giveaway from the audience, telling them during the show that one lucky audience member had a box with the key to the car. The seminal moment came as the entire audience opened their boxes and realized that each of them contained a key.

In the end, however, the giveaway led future audience members to be upset that they weren’t receiving equivalently lavish gifts. And even audience members who won a car began complaining to the press after they realized they had to pay a gift tax of up to $7,000 for the vehicle.

“We put our whole soul into this moment of television and with real intention to do something good, and so when people had a negative reaction, it, like, literally hurt our feelings,” explained producer Lisa Erspamer.

Below watch the highlight of that iconic TV moment.

Read the full story at The New York Post.


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Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue cover model Danielle Herrington has responded to criticism over her involvement with the annual publication in the midst of the #MeToo movement. In an interview with AOL’s Build Series on Thursday, Herrington, the issue’s third-ever black cover model, appeared alongside Brenna Huckaby, a Paralympian and the first amputee to be featured in the magazine’s swimsuit edition.

“I can be in a swimsuit and feel sexy and feel empowered,” said Herrington. “I feel like all the girls in the world, and anybody else, should be able to express themselves the way they want to and still be respected for it.”

“Nothing has changed with me except for how I feel about myself,” noted Huckaby. “And if you can’t understand that then you’re missing the whole point of Sports Illustrated swimsuit.”

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THANK YOU @si_swimsuit for having me on your COVER. This is my first cover ever and I am beyond speechless! I dedicate this to all the young girls out there. Work hard, surround yourself with good people who believe in you and your DREAMS WILL COME TRUE! To @mj_day and your amazing team at @si_swimsuit #FamilyForever, thank you! To my my parents, family and friends, I LOVE YOU, thank you! To my agent @sandrasperka thank you for not only being the best agent, but also my mentor and friend! To @bodybymato for supporting me for the last 2 years and always being there for me! To my agency @women360mgmt you guys are the bomb! I am the luckiest and most grateful girl DREAM BIG. WORK HARD. BE RESPECTFUL. LOVE EACH OTHER. OWN IT!

A post shared by Danielle Herrington (@danielle_herrington_) on

Former gold medal winning gymnast Aly Raisman, who posed nude for the issue with phrases such as “Trust yourself,” “Abuse is never okay,” and “Women do not have to be modest to be respected” written on her body, told People Now that she had endured “devastating” accusations of hypocrisy just a month after she testified before her abuser, former sports doctor Larry Nassar.

“I actually had somebody say something to me a couple months ago, saying, ‘I don’t understand how you can complain that you were molested, because you participated in Sports Illustrated swimsuit,’” said Raisman, 23. “It doesn’t matter. I just don’t understand and it really makes me — it’s devastating. I can’t even tell you how many people have told me that when they were raped, they were asked, ‘Well, what were you wearing?’ It doesn’t matter what you’re wearing. It’s never, ever okay.”

“As women, you know we’re always taught, in my opinion, to be ashamed of our bodies and everyone’s always telling us [that] it’s better to cover up,” she added. “You can be sexy, you can be wearing a sexy bikini, you can still be smart, powerful, have a voice. You can still be advocating for change, you can still be a good person, you can still be respected.”

In the #MeToo era, what do you think about the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue. Vote in our poll.

Watch an excerpt of Herrington and Huckaby’s interview with AOL Build below.

Read the full story at Yahoo News and People magazine.


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Medical milestone

Doctors in New York City have achieved a medical milestone by successfully inducing lactation in a transgender woman, enabling her to produce sufficient breast milk to feed her partner’s newborn infant for six weeks.

Dr. Tamar Reisman and Zil Goldstein, a nurse practitioner, at the Mount Sinai Center for Transgender Medicine and Surgery in New York, said that they had been approached in 2011 by a 30-year-old woman who was born male about the possibility of breast-feeding her then-pregnant partner’s baby. Using a regimen of drugs that included progesterone and estradiol, hormones that induce lactation and that normally occur in pregnant women, as well as domperidone, an anti-nausea drug known to increase breast milk production, they were able to induce the lactation of droplets of milk within a month of treatment. After three months, milk production had increased to eight ounces of milk a day.

“We believe that this is the first formal report in the medical literature of induced lactation in a transgender woman,” wrote Dr. Reisman and Ms. Goldstein in a summary of their findings published in the journal Transgender Health.

It is not yet clear whether breast milk produced in this way is equivalent to breast milk produced by women who are not transgender. Nutritional questions aside, one concern raised by transgender activists is the possibility of hormones being excreted in the milk. The authors of the study said that the woman, who continued to take the drug spironolactone, which blocks testosterone and can be “excreted in human milk,” exclusively breast-fed the infant for six weeks before supplementing with formula due to concerns over milk volume. A pediatrician who monitored the baby during that time said that the child was developing normally. According to the study’s authors, the baby is now six months old.

Read the full story at The New York Times.


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A week after California assemblywoman Cristina Garcia was accused of groping a former male legislative staff member in 2014, four former employees of Garcia’s office have also come forward with allegations that she frequently consumed alcohol and discussed sex while at work. San Diego lawyer Dan Gilleon has filed a formal complaint with the Legislature on behalf of the former employees, who claim that Garcia’s recurrent talk about her sexual activity, including with other members of the Assembly, amounted to harassment. The complainants also alleged that Garcia would drink during work hours and pressure staff to join her, in addition to asking staff to perform personal duties such as taking care of her dogs.

Garcia, a prominent #MeToo movement leader who was featured as a silence breaker in TIME’s Person of the Year issue, has been on a leave of absence since Daniel Fierro, a former staffer in another office, accused her of drunkenly groping his butt and trying to grab his groin after a legislative softball game. She has denied Fierro’s allegations against her, as well as the recent claims by her former staffers.

Garcia’s former chief of staff, Tim Reardon, said that he had never heard or been told that Garcia discussed her sexual activities in front of staff. He acknowledged that alcohol such as wine was sometimes present in Assembly offices, but added that “there has never been excessive drinking like it’s some kind of drinking party.”

Ashley Labar, Garcia’s current chief of staff, also denied the allegations unequivocally and Garcia took to Facebook to echo that she plans to let the investigative process play out. She also added, “In a fast-paced legislative office, not everyone is the right fit for every position, and I do understand how a normal employment decision could be misinterpreted by the individual involved in that decision.”

Read the full story at The Associated Press.


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Coming forward

A new report blows the lid off an extramarital affair President Donald Trump purportedly engaged in with a former Playboy Playmate of the Year more than a decade ago. Karen McDougal discussed certain aspects of her apparent relationship with Trump, as well as the ways that Trump and his allies have worked behind the scenes to keep his purported transgressions out of the press.

Speaking with Ronan Farrow in an explosive exposé for The New Yorker, McDougal confirmed the authenticity of a handwritten eight-page letter that Farrow had obtained. In the document, she detailed her alleged affair with Trump, writing that she had met Trump in June 2006 when he taped an episode of The Apprentice at the Playboy Mansion in Los Angeles. Trump asked for her phone number at the party, and the two had their first date at his private bungalow in the Beverly Hills Hotel. According to McDougal, she was charmed by Trump and they had sex after dinner, but she was shocked when the real estate mogul offered her money as she was getting dressed to leave. The encounter took place, less than two years after Trump had married Melania Knauss, then a model and now the country’s first lady.

“He offered me money,” she wrote. “I looked at him (+ felt sad) + said, ‘No thanks – I’m not ‘that girl.’ I slept w/you because I like you – NOT for money’ – He told me ‘you are special.’”

McDougal continued to see Trump for nine months, according to the report, as Trump met with her during his frequent visits to L.A. He also flew McDougal out for events such as the Lake Tahoe golf tournament. At Lake Tahoe, Trump is said to have also begun a sexual relationship with pornstar Stormy Daniels and called Dawn Vanguard, another pornstar, with the offer to join him and Daniels. Yet another adult-film actress, Jessica Drake, has said that Trump also offered her $10,000 for sex during the Lake Tahoe tournament.

After McDougal ended the relationship, a friend of hers, John Crawford, suggested that he get in contact with an attorney Keith M. Davidson to see whether a story about her affair was “worth something.” McDougal, who is a Republican, said that she was afraid of influencing the election and of possible reprisals from other Trump supporters. But A.M.I., the media company that bought the rights to her story, is run by CEO and chairman David Pecker — “a personal friend” of the president’s. By purchasing the story and not running it, the publication was effectivably able to enforce McDougal’s silence — a tradeoff that McDougal says she is no longer willing to stomach.

McDougal explained how events in her life led to her change of heart — and former A.M.I. employees, including former senior editor Jerry George, elaborated on how Pecker protects Trump in the media — as well as the possible “leverage” over a person that owning stories about them can create.

Farrow appeared on Good Morning America Friday to discuss McDougal’s story and the reporting that went into it. Watch the interview below.

Read the full story at The New Yorker.


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